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RichardWilliamson

FLX thoughts

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First time on the FLX today. I like it but there seem to be a number of bugs/issues

- initially I had universe set to ‘auto’, however using DMX output 1 I got bad signal when checking with a swisson (dimmers didn’t recognise anything) - changing to universe 1 fixed it

- patching is laborious. There seems no way to add a fixture without giving it an address, and far too much tapping on the touch screen. It’s not very clear which column you are editing, when you try to patch an address that’s in use for a new channel you don’t get a warning, the number just reverts. You seem to have to make lots of use of clear/enter and check which Column is selected meaning it is stupidly easy to make mistakes without noticing 

- also when patching, the menu when addressing doesn’t display the channel number you are working on, neither do any of the confirmation alerts. So if you accidentally edit the wrong channel there is no way to know 

- similarly if trying to patch an in use channel the alert should tell you where you are currently using the address 

- is there a way to view patch in address order?

- I somehow managed to unpatch channels twice. And I’ve no idea why. This could have been a bug. Or just me - either way it’s not good as there was no alert that gave me enough information to know it was happening. 

- at one point patching one 8 bit dimmer would patch two addresses. I have no idea why. This stopped after a while

- in live, when you switch faders from channel to playback mode with faders up ugly things happen 

- when you select ‘colour’ on the right, the led above the colour button lights up as expected, but as soon as you move an encoder it goes out 

- the remote (iOS) regularly doesn’t read key up’s meaning you can end up with a load of buttons seemingly pressed 

- the remote is confusing if you leave the desk in setup and try and use it

- the remote should remember the console password 

- the remote seems to flash ‘incorrect password’ when making a successful connection. 

- I feel pressing home should take you out of the setup area 

- at one point the entire face panel (other than touch screen) became unresponsive across power cycles. Maybe this was a hardware issue 

- no way I can see to go next/last through channels. 

- no way I can see to call up channels by address. 

I couldn’t get rig sync to work with a power cube but they may not work with it?

Richard 

 

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Hi Richard,

Brilliant work for giving this comprehensive feedback - I have some sympathy with some of your observations, particularly the messaging/error feedback. (In my experience of using lots of very expensive commercial software at work, this need has to be driven in detail in the requirements: if you just leave it up to the software engineers to code something ‘useful’ then the quality of the message depends on how much the coder sits in the users shoes and really understands what information they need for the particular issue).

Some of your symptoms suggest old software to me - are you using 7.9.4 ?

Welcome to FLX anyway, good to have you ‘on board’,

Regards,

Kevin

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Hi Richard,

Sorry to hear your first experience with FLX wasn't quite what it should have been.

As Kevin asks, could you please confirm the software version running on your FLX? You can find out by tapping Z -> System Information, and in here will be a line of text displaying "Software Version". ZerOS 7.9.4 is the latest,  which depending on the age of your console may not be installed.

I'll work through your comments below...

17 hours ago, RichardWilliamson said:

- initially I had universe set to ‘auto’, however using DMX output 1 I got bad signal when checking with a swisson (dimmers didn’t recognise anything) - changing to universe 1 fixed it

Hmm that's an odd one, I haven't come across this before. The "Auto" option should be exactly the same as enabling that output's respective universe if something is patched on it. I have logged this on our software tracking system as ZOS-8852 for the software team to do further investigations.

17 hours ago, RichardWilliamson said:

- patching is laborious. There seems no way to add a fixture without giving it an address, and far too much tapping on the touch screen. It’s not very clear which column you are editing, when you try to patch an address that’s in use for a new channel you don’t get a warning, the number just reverts.

Currently when patching, a fixture must be given a DMX address. This can then be removed if you wish, by tapping "Address" -> Unpatch. When working through the second page of Add Fixtures, the cursor/ENTER keys may be used. ENTER will move you on to the next field to fill in. If you type in a DMX address that is in use in Add Fixtures, and then click Finish, you will get an error message. If you enter a DMX address that is already in use and then move onto a different field, it will revert back to the suggested next available address.

17 hours ago, RichardWilliamson said:

You seem to have to make lots of use of clear/enter and check which Column is selected meaning it is stupidly easy to make mistakes without noticing 

Could you elaborate a little on where you find this is an issue? In the Fixture Schedule, using arrow keys you can see what cell is highlighted by the blue cell. 

17 hours ago, RichardWilliamson said:

- also when patching, the menu when addressing doesn’t display the channel number you are working on, neither do any of the confirmation alerts. So if you accidentally edit the wrong channel there is no way to know

17 hours ago, RichardWilliamson said:

- similarly if trying to patch an in use channel the alert should tell you where you are currently using the address 

Added as a feature request. Logged as ZOS-8853

17 hours ago, RichardWilliamson said:

- is there a way to view patch in address order?

In the Fixture Schedule, if you hold SHIFT and tap a column header, the list will be sorted by the column information. Therefore to sort by DMX address hold SHIFT + tap "Address".

17 hours ago, RichardWilliamson said:

- I somehow managed to unpatch channels twice. And I’ve no idea why. This could have been a bug. Or just me - either way it’s not good as there was no alert that gave me enough information to know it was happening. 

Unpatching a fixture can only be done in the Edit DMX Address window, or by confirming a DMX address conflict.

17 hours ago, RichardWilliamson said:

- at one point patching one 8 bit dimmer would patch two addresses. I have no idea why. This stopped after a while

Hmm haven't come across this before. Assigning a fixture multiple DMX addresses is done in the fixture's Edit DMX Address window, rather than in Add Fixtures.

17 hours ago, RichardWilliamson said:

- in live, when you switch faders from channel to playback mode with faders up ugly things happen 

Could you elaborate a little on this? When doing this you will simply need to move the faders to the level the playbacks are currently at (shown in the MFF window), and the faders will then re-gain control of the playbacks. We call this level-matching.

17 hours ago, RichardWilliamson said:

- when you select ‘colour’ on the right, the led above the colour button lights up as expected, but as soon as you move an encoder it goes out 

Currently attribute keys will turn off when a new command is typed in the command line. I have logged a review into this behaviour as ZOS-8854.

18 hours ago, RichardWilliamson said:

- the remote (iOS) regularly doesn’t read key up’s meaning you can end up with a load of buttons seemingly pressed 

I'm not sure I understand what you mean here, could you expand a little? There is a new version of the iOS apps coming soon which greatly improves connectivity, and provides support for Apple Watch.

18 hours ago, RichardWilliamson said:

- the remote is confusing if you leave the desk in setup and try and use it

Logged as ZOS-8855.

18 hours ago, RichardWilliamson said:

- the remote should remember the console password

The thought behind the Remote is that any time you try to connect to the console from any device you will require the password. You can disable the password in SETUP -> Remote, if you wish, which in most cases still provides sufficient security as the wireless network password is required to connect your device in the first place.

18 hours ago, RichardWilliamson said:

- the remote seems to flash ‘incorrect password’ when making a successful connection. 

Hmm ok thanks for letting us know. Again, as I said the new apps will be on their way soon, which should solve this.

18 hours ago, RichardWilliamson said:

- I feel pressing home should take you out of the setup are

Pressing SETUP will take you out of Setup, as long as you aren't in a separate window within the console Setup. The HOME key is purely used to Home fixtures or program defaults and max levels, rather than being used to access a "Home screen".

18 hours ago, RichardWilliamson said:

- at one point the entire face panel (other than touch screen) became unresponsive across power cycles. Maybe this was a hardware issue 

Do you remember whether any front panel buttons were lit, or did it just seem that the buttons were unresponsive? If this happens again, please let me know.

18 hours ago, RichardWilliamson said:

- no way I can see to go next/last through channels. 

To skip through Next/Previous fixtures use SHIFT + LEFT or RIGHT arrow (You can actually also use SHIFT + AND or EXCEPT).

18 hours ago, RichardWilliamson said:

- no way I can see to call up channels by address. 

There is currently no way of controlling raw DMX data on FLX. This is something we get few requests for, but may look to implement in future.

18 hours ago, RichardWilliamson said:

I couldn’t get rig sync to work with a power cube but they may not work with it?

Is the Avolites PowerCube RDM enabled? It doesn't seem to be advertised on Avo's website. If it is and RDM is enabled, it should be discovered by the console if you are going directly into the PowerCube, or via RDM enabled DMX splitters. It will probably be patched as an individual fixture as FLX will see it as one device. Under the Beam attribute for the fixture will then contain each of the dimmer channels. If RigSync support for the PowerCube is something you're interested in let me know, and we will look to add full support for this device, so that it is patched correctly as separate dimmers, in the same way it would if connecting to Betapack 3 or new Chilli dimmers.

 

Again thank you for your comments. We always value customer feedback to improve our products. If you have any queries please don't hesitate to let me know.

Edward

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Hello

Thanks for the responses - much appreciated. Sorry for the delay coming back. To answer a couple of your questions..

- I was using 7.9.4 (Which I think is latest version)

- Re. outputs, I was getting no data received on the dimmers until I set an output to universe 1, however I hadn't patched anything at this time so maybe the output wasn't initialised? It was slightly confusing behavior though

On 10/4/2018 at 6:50 PM, Edward- Z88 said:
On 10/4/2018 at 12:18 AM, RichardWilliamson said:

You seem to have to make lots of use of clear/enter and check which Column is selected meaning it is stupidly easy to make mistakes without noticing 

Could you elaborate a little on where you find this is an issue? In the Fixture Schedule, using arrow keys you can see what cell is highlighted by the blue cell.  

I am used to working in command line, so patching with the keyboard as far as possible. I found the workflow on FLX which seemed best for me was:

- Open to the patch window (after creating all the fixtures I want)

- Tap on the address column, this might cause a window to open but I clear that

- Type the channel I want to patch, press enter - the patch detail window for that channel appears

- Add the DMX address etc

- Press enter

- Confirm over-patching if necessary

- This returns me to the normal patch view, I now have to press clear, as if I type a second channel number without pressing clear I will edit two channels (however the window doesn't tell me this so i can make lots of mistakes!)

On 10/4/2018 at 6:50 PM, Edward- Z88 said:
On 10/4/2018 at 12:18 AM, RichardWilliamson said:

- in live, when you switch faders from channel to playback mode with faders up ugly things happen 

Could you elaborate a little on this? When doing this you will simply need to move the faders to the level the playbacks are currently at (shown in the MFF window), and the faders will then re-gain control of the playbacks. We call this level-matching.

It seemed to me that when I changed between the two the output would jump to the current fader positions in a non-nice way (level matching is what I would expect to happen), I would need to get back to the desk to check I wasn't imagining things

On 10/4/2018 at 6:50 PM, Edward- Z88 said:
On 10/4/2018 at 12:18 AM, RichardWilliamson said:

- the remote (iOS) regularly doesn’t read key up’s meaning you can end up with a load of buttons seemingly pressed 

I'm not sure I understand what you mean here, could you expand a little? There is a new version of the iOS apps coming soon which greatly improves connectivity, and provides support for Apple Watch. 

When you press a key, the button is rendered as down (highlighted) and when you remove your finger it should re-render to the normal state. What I found happening regularly (maybe due to bad wifi?) was that my release of the button was missed, so the button would remain pressed. If I wanted to use that button again I would need to press it so it logged a key-up before I could use it again

On 10/4/2018 at 6:50 PM, Edward- Z88 said:
On 10/4/2018 at 12:18 AM, RichardWilliamson said:

- the remote should remember the console password

The thought behind the Remote is that any time you try to connect to the console from any device you will require the password. You can disable the password in SETUP -> Remote, if you wish, which in most cases still provides sufficient security as the wireless network password is required to connect your device in the first place.

This is just annoying though - once I know the password then I should be able to save it so I can quickly re-connect to the desk. I see no benefit to forcing it to be typed every time.

On 10/4/2018 at 6:50 PM, Edward- Z88 said:
On 10/4/2018 at 12:18 AM, RichardWilliamson said:

- I feel pressing home should take you out of the setup are

Pressing SETUP will take you out of Setup, as long as you aren't in a separate window within the console Setup. The HOME key is purely used to Home fixtures or program defaults and max levels, rather than being used to access a "Home screen".

So this is where I think the physical button layout is confusing - to me, the buttons surrounding the screen appear to be buttons that change the view - which some of them do (and their light lights up to reflect the view, hence the weirdness when the lights go out) - I would expect the home button to be near the programming keys. Obviously these buttons are now rather set in stone and I'm sure I would get used to them in time!

On 10/4/2018 at 6:50 PM, Edward- Z88 said:
On 10/4/2018 at 12:18 AM, RichardWilliamson said:

- at one point the entire face panel (other than touch screen) became unresponsive across power cycles. Maybe this was a hardware issue 

Do you remember whether any front panel buttons were lit, or did it just seem that the buttons were unresponsive? If this happens again, please let me know.

Has been fine since - all the buttons were off, although the 8 segment button for fader pages did its cycle on power up so was connected to something

There are a few other comments I have since using the desk a bit more..

- It would be great to have a list of used fixtures/favorite fixtures when adding new ones - I found it very boring to have to search for a fixture every time I wanted to add one. Ideally the "show" fixtures and maybe bookmarked fixtures would be in a list

- Similarly, it would be great to be able to search all fixtures (from all manufacturers) in the middle column when you haven't specified a manufacturer - that way if you know the model name you can miss a step of having to find the manufacturer first

- I found update annoying. In my mind update should only put the captured (red) channels into the target, however it seems to take the console output. This meant that in my use (an exhibition whit a playback for each area) I had to take other areas to blackout in order to record or update a specific playback

- I found it a little confusing when selecting a colour palette for a unit that wasn't in that palette (as there was no error to see when it wasn't a relevant palette) - maybe this is just me

- I found entering real time confusing in that I am used to being about to type 220000 and a console automatically formatting it to 22:00:00 - Jon Hole kindly pointed me in the right direction of adding decimal points to format appropriately

- I'm not a massive fan of the long command line - I found it hard to tell what I had just typed, and I feel at the least the "enter" command (or assumed enter after commands such as @@) should insert a more obvious block than just a comma.

- I also would like a way of sneaking/releasing a single channel out of the programmer in both live and also in blind, I couldn't see how to remove a channel from a cue..

- Also, in blind or in live, is there a way to see the colour/other information for a channel. I usually worked in the Strand 520-esq channel view (using shift-view)

Hope these thoughts are useful! I've finished on that job now but will try and find an excuse to use an FLX again soon

Richard

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Hi Richard,

Many thanks for your comments.

4 hours ago, RichardWilliamson said:

- I was using 7.9.4 (Which I think is latest version)

Thank you for confirming. Yes this is the latest version of ZerOS software.

4 hours ago, RichardWilliamson said:

- Re. outputs, I was getting no data received on the dimmers until I set an output to universe 1, however I hadn't patched anything at this time so maybe the output wasn't initialised? It was slightly confusing behavior though

That's correct- currently the default "Automatic" DMX out means if nothing is patched on a universe, that respective DMX port will be disabled. I have logged your comments as ZOS-8852; we will consider changing this behaviour to avoid confusion.

4 hours ago, RichardWilliamson said:

I am used to working in command line, so patching with the keyboard as far as possible. I found the workflow on FLX which seemed best for me was:

- Open to the patch window (after creating all the fixtures I want)

- Tap on the address column, this might cause a window to open but I clear that

- Type the channel I want to patch, press enter - the patch detail window for that channel appears

- Add the DMX address etc

- Press enter

- Confirm over-patching if necessary

- This returns me to the normal patch view, I now have to press clear, as if I type a second channel number without pressing clear I will edit two channels (however the window doesn't tell me this so i can make lots of mistakes!)

After patching fixtures, whilst viewing the Fixture Schedule you may select those channels you want to edit (eg type 101 THRU 106 ENTER), and then tap the "Address" column header to adjust all of their addresses. Or your other option is to use the syntax 101 THRU 106 @ 201, which will address channels 101 THRU 106 to DMX address 201 through sequentially. In future we are going to allow for the use of AND whilst configuring the DMX address, to assign channels multiple DMX addresses via syntax.

4 hours ago, RichardWilliamson said:

It seemed to me that when I changed between the two the output would jump to the current fader positions in a non-nice way (level matching is what I would expect to happen), I would need to get back to the desk to check I wasn't imagining things

OK thank you for letting me know. I haven't come across this before, so will keep an eye on this one.

4 hours ago, RichardWilliamson said:

When you press a key, the button is rendered as down (highlighted) and when you remove your finger it should re-render to the normal state. What I found happening regularly (maybe due to bad wifi?) was that my release of the button was missed, so the button would remain pressed. If I wanted to use that button again I would need to press it so it logged a key-up before I could use it again

We have seen this a couple of times with the current iOS app. This issue is due to be fixed in the next version of the apps.

4 hours ago, RichardWilliamson said:

This is just annoying though - once I know the password then I should be able to save it so I can quickly re-connect to the desk. I see no benefit to forcing it to be typed every time.

We'll investigate further how this should behave. Logged as ZOS-8858.

4 hours ago, RichardWilliamson said:

So this is where I think the physical button layout is confusing - to me, the buttons surrounding the screen appear to be buttons that change the view - which some of them do (and their light lights up to reflect the view, hence the weirdness when the lights go out) - I would expect the home button to be near the programming keys. Obviously these buttons are now rather set in stone and I'm sure I would get used to them in time!

Thank you for your thoughts, we'll bear this in mind. The right hand side of the touchscreen are your attribute keys. The left hand side are your function keys, providing extra features and user tools. I do appreciate all of these touchscreen buttons apart from SHIFT and HOME change the screens.

4 hours ago, RichardWilliamson said:

Has been fine since - all the buttons were off, although the 8 segment button for fader pages did its cycle on power up so was connected to something

OK thanks for letting me know.

4 hours ago, RichardWilliamson said:

- It would be great to have a list of used fixtures/favorite fixtures when adding new ones - I found it very boring to have to search for a fixture every time I wanted to add one. Ideally the "show" fixtures and maybe bookmarked fixtures would be in a list

This feature is on our road map to be implemented in a future software update, logged on our software tracking system as ZOS-7984.

4 hours ago, RichardWilliamson said:

- Similarly, it would be great to be able to search all fixtures (from all manufacturers) in the middle column when you haven't specified a manufacturer - that way if you know the model name you can miss a step of having to find the manufacturer first

We agree, this is logged as ZOS-8223, to be included in a future update.

4 hours ago, RichardWilliamson said:

- I found update annoying. In my mind update should only put the captured (red) channels into the target, however it seems to take the console output. This meant that in my use (an exhibition whit a playback for each area) I had to take other areas to blackout in order to record or update a specific playback

This is due to a feature called "SmartTag". When SmartTag is enabled, FLX will automatically include programmed values from other cues as well as programmer (red) values at the point of recording or updating. This can be disabled at any point in the Record or Update window, by tapping the "SmartTag" button- with SmartTag disabled only programmer (red) values will be included.

4 hours ago, RichardWilliamson said:

- I found it a little confusing when selecting a colour palette for a unit that wasn't in that palette (as there was no error to see when it wasn't a relevant palette) - maybe this is just me

You should find if you select a fixture that wasn't included when recording the palette, and isn't of the same fixture type as those included in the palette, then it will be greyed out rather than highlighted in the palettes window. Were you experiencing different behaviour to this?

4 hours ago, RichardWilliamson said:

- I found entering real time confusing in that I am used to being about to type 220000 and a console automatically formatting it to 22:00:00 - Jon Hole kindly pointed me in the right direction of adding decimal points to format appropriately

Yes currently decimal points are required to know where to break the time. I have noted your comment as ZOS-8859.

4 hours ago, RichardWilliamson said:

- I'm not a massive fan of the long command line - I found it hard to tell what I had just typed, and I feel at the least the "enter" command (or assumed enter after commands such as @@) should insert a more obvious block than just a comma.

When using shorcuts such as @@ or @., ENTER is not required to complete the command. Completed commands are ended with a comma and change to a slightly darker yellow, rather than the brighter yellow of the command currently being typed. We should maybe look to make this a more obvious colour change.

4 hours ago, RichardWilliamson said:

I also would like a way of sneaking/releasing a single channel out of the programmer in both live and also in blind, I couldn't see how to remove a channel from a cue..

There are a couple of different options for this. One of which is to use Knockout, which is available to configure as one of the special UDK functions. These can be configured by holding SETUP and tapping an empty UDK, and choose Knockout from the drop down. Now when in a cue you can select a fixture and tap knockout, and it will be snapped out of the cue this once. Next time the fixture is used in a cue it will come back on.

To bring the fixture into the programmer the other option is to use syntax in conjunction with a fade time. To do this go into your cue, and enable Programmer Time. Programmer Time can be found by tapping Z, situated on the last encoder wheel. Tap the middle encoder button to enable Programmer Time, and now all syntax and palettes will use this time. You can therefore type your fixture's channel number, @. to turn it off, and it will fade out over the defined Programmer Time. You can then clear your programmer so the fixture can be used again by future cues, either by double tapping the CLEAR key, or to only remove that specific fixture from the programmer, you can customise an empty UDK to be "Clear Fixture". You can then select your fixture and tap your Clear Fixture UDK, and only this fixture will be removed from the programmer.

4 hours ago, RichardWilliamson said:

- Also, in blind or in live, is there a way to see the colour/other information for a channel. I usually worked in the Strand 520-esq channel view (using shift-view)

The parameter table can be opened for a fixture simply by selecting it. This will then open at the bottom of the Output window, giving a breakdown of the fixture's parameters.

4 hours ago, RichardWilliamson said:

Hope these thoughts are useful! I've finished on that job now but will try and find an excuse to use an FLX again soon

They are indeed very useful! Thank you very much for the comprehensive comments.

Hope my comments are helpful. If you have any further queries on FLX, please don't hesitate to contact us. Feel free to email me directly too, if that's easier.

Edward

 

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